“I just want more of her.” A wonderful piece on the late lamented food writer, Laurie Colwin.

Perfect Sweater: Remedial Coverage

Dear Kay, and everybody who’s not quite as, uh, troublemaking as Kay,
YIKES, WOMAN! You start leaving Comments with words like dolman sleeves, and people are going to bolt for the doors. You don’t yell dolman in a crowded Future Search!
I state it plainly: the Perfect Sweater does not have the sleeves of the flying squirrel. There is no peculiar winged element to these sleeves. Nobody’s going to be storing nuts in these sleeves. You can wave your arm high over your head in this sweater. These are set-in sleeves, by jinky, free-flappin’ set-in sleeves.
perfectflat.jpg
See? I do wonder if the sleeves should be just a bit less full. The fact that you even thought of the word dolman suggests that maybe they are too full. Thoughts, everybody?
It looks so deflated, without a human wearing it. This photo shows just how three-dimensional a set-in sleeve is–it won’t lie flat because it’s spoze to fit an ackshul arm. Here’s the left sleeve, inflated by Ms. Super Fantastic:
perfectleftsleeve2.jpg
Still not loving those Frankenstein scar decreases. Lord willing (and Rev. Linda has offered up the proper entreaties), that’s been fixed in the pattern.
You are right, of course–yesterday’s lone, slightly blurry photograph of the Perfect Sweater was undeniably pathetic. I am embarrassed to have underblogged so grievously. In the interest of achieving a Kayworthy Overview of a Finished Object (in this case an Object Very Much in Process Yet at a Stage Worth Studying), here are some upcloseandpersonal photos of the Perfect Sweater, Beta Version.
The side shaping. Just the simple fact that you can make a curve in knitting gives me a great pleasure.
The side seam. Who thought up knitting, anyway? So cool.
The shoulder seams, with the short rows. Refining those little wrapped stitches which prolly shouldn’t be there.
The collar, about which please don’t be alarmed because this isn’t how it’s actually going to look and it’s a mess here but we knit samples in order to discover stuff like this right?
Bonus Pictures!
If you’ve read this far, you deserve a present: Baby in Handknits! So here is Crockett, the official mannequin of our knitting group. Laura, his mom, has pretty much taught herself to knit, and has discovered that her baby is the perfect creature to cover in handknits.
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I think this is the Umbilical Cord Hat from Stitch ‘n’ Bitch.
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Judy cooked up this one.
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This is Crockett imitating his favorite performer, Bootsy Collins.
He’s like an American Girl doll. Oh wait, he’s a real baby. I’ll stop Christmas shopping now.
Love,
Ann
PS Re the Windy City Perfect Sweater Winding Party–So glad to hear from everybody! Details will be forthcoming shortly. Please email me if you’d like to attend–it’ll be either the 28th or 29th, five o’clockish. The sister-in-law Mary Neal will be hosting us at her loft in the Loop, bless her.

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34 Comments

34 Comments

  1. Whew! (Or as my daughter says, ‘Few!’) I feel MUCH better now that there are half a dozen pictures, A Bootsy Collins Baby (TM), and news of a knit-rave to take place at a LOFT in the LOOP of the Winding City.
    Now that you’ve blogged properly, you can go back to what you were doing.
    The reason I thought of Dolmans was simply that in the first (and then-ONLY) picture, due to lighting/shadows, you could not see the armhole SEAMS. A lack of visible armhole seams quite naturally gives rise to a Level Orange Dolman Alert. Dolman must be ruled out before normal life resumes.
    I am sorry to have caused panic in the streets.
    xoxo Kay

  2. The sleeve could be a tad slimmer. But I learned to knit like that pattern Kay showed us a while ago, with the drop shoulder attached to a sleeve about 20 inches across at the top, so I’m used to a roomy sleeve.
    I must tell you I have a picture of a store called Blu Max! It is tres chic, but I’m not sure if they sell baby blue jeans.

  3. That baby’s hilarious, and I don’t even like babies…
    Concerning the Future Search, I have to agree with whoever it was that originally planted the idea that the sleeves might be too full. Also, I hate to be a nay-sayer, but I think one of the lessons we might take from the search is that essentially we all want a boring sweater. It was a great idea and lots of fun, but it seems that the sweater we came up with is the sweater we all want (to buy). (I whispered that last part). I’m sorry!!!! It was a great idea and the sweater that resulted does look great! It’s nice! It’s what I want! But it’s what I want to scour the halls of TJ Maxx for, instead of knitting myself.
    Well, you can take my opinion for what it’s worth, which is not a lot since I’m just one of hundreds of voices contributing. I don’t know why I’m even posting this because I hate people that write in unhappy for really no reason when they have very little invested in whatever issue it is. I’m sorry for that too! But at least I’m not anonymous!
    Anyway, I’m not deleting the comment because I also wanted to say that I saw the Knitty baby blue jeans pattern and it’s super cute and a great idea! It’s got great details too! It makes it look more finished than a pattern without that something extra.

  4. Aw Susan, we all feel the same way. You’re not saying nay–you’re saying what we all knew from the get-go.
    Any time you get a thousand knitters opining about their perfect sweater, you get a thousand points of view. (You THOUGHT I was going to say lights, didn’t you?) The sweater you see right here isn’t the end of the road, honey, it’s the starting line–what happens next is that we will be cooking up more collar styles, we’ll be making cardigan versions, and everybody is going to be customizing the pattern with the elements they feel desperately attached to and cannot imagine a sweater not having. I personally am going to make a collar that looks like a funnel cake.
    The Whole Point here is that there is a common ground that we all agree on: we like making sweaters. We like them to have sleeves. Beyond that, it gets kind of murky. And the whole point is that if we puts a little of our own imagination into it–if we START with a pattern but END with a sweater that reflects our own tastes, well, that’s just purely delightful. It turns knitting into something other than a paint-by-numbers rehash of a pattern. It makes a sweater, um, perfect. See? Stick with us, and you’ll have your sweater that TJ Maxx will never, ever sell.

  5. The fuller sleeve is very good for the cardigan version of the Perfect Sweater, because it will allow for the shirt that will live between the cardigan and the Lanea. We heart that. Er, I heart that. Er, I’m seriously sleep deprived and losing touch with the use of the first person.
    And that is one seriously cute baaaaabeeeee. In my neck of the woods, we would say he’s “cuter than socks on a rooster” or perhaps “cuter than an bug’s ear”, or, quite possibly, edibly cute.

  6. That little boy is TOO CUTE.
    And the sleeves on The Perfect Sweater? I think they’re Perfect. I like roomy sleeves!

  7. Crockett is adorable AND a good sport and has a great name. Someone make that boy some blu jeans!
    The Perfect Sweater is becoming exactly what I expected: a thing to adapt to my own purposes and taste. In plain stockinette it’s a canvas for duplicate stitch, embroidery or separate knitted doo-dads (or some Bootsy sequins). Or I could do it in any combination of the bizillion stitch patterns out there or throw in some cables. I’m not the least bit disappointed or bored. But, yeah, the sleeves need some tweaking.

  8. Susan, like we said yesterday and like Ann said above, the very thing that makes this sweater perfect is that it is so versatile and can be so many things depending on the eye of the beholder. I think that should be its real name: The Perfect (in the eye of the beholder) Sweater.
    Ann, I am eagerly awaiting the pattern so I can write up the square neck. The sweater is so lovely. Thanks for the additional pictures!

  9. P.S. I like the sleeve-fullness just as it is. Especially, like Lanea said, for the cardigan.

  10. OOOOOh, did Ann say short rows, never done a short row, but otherwise, still love the perfect sweater. I like the idea that the sleeve can go over another shirt, but might make two one day — one thinner, one thicker, if I can figure out how to avoid the frankenstein scar.

  11. I always get that Frankenstein scar when I short-row & 3-needle-bind-off the shoulders. I think this is why Rowan usually makes you sew that seam. There’s something about casting off those sloping rows together than makes the seam more visible. It’s neater than sewing, in that it’s exactly stitch-for stitch, but in the end it’s more visible. Mind you, after it’s been worn a couple of times, I find the seam ‘melts’ a bit, regardless of which method you use. But on Joseph’s soccer sweater, which used the 3-needle-bind-off shoulder, I can still see that jagged spot very clearly.
    OK. That was my technical knitting thinking for the week or perhaps the month. xoxo Kay
    Trying (really) to be helpful. I think it might be worth doing it the cast-off-and-seam-together way just as an experiment.

  12. okay, so roomy sleeves is an option. We get to pick everything else, why not that. Lanea is right, they would work great on the cardi. And yes! this pattern is denfinitely an invitation to “Customize This”. The yarn color I picked is sooo pretty, I can’t wait to start agonizing over my own choices for the pattern.

  13. Oh Kay, I will be un-short-rowing my shoulder, probably. Except that I may not have an official shoulder on my perfect sweater. In fact, it may not even coincide with my favorite line here today:
    “there is a common ground that we all agree on: we like making sweaters. We like them to have sleeves. Beyond that, it gets kind of murky.”
    Awesome.
    Now about that Crockett. OMG Crockett is a total doll. TOTAL DOLL.

  14. Just remember–many of us will be wearing these sweaters under winter coats . . . the sleeves need to be roomy enough to wear over a t-shirt or something, but slim enough to fit inside a coat sleeve without massive bulk. (I HATE having bulky sweater sleeves crammed inside my coat!) I think the prototype looks great, though, and my, the color of that yarn is just gorgeous!

  15. Did you pick up the wrap and knit it together with the wrapped stitch on the next row? That helps, I think. And if we do the decreases a stitch or two in from the edge, does that help with the Frahnkenshteen issue? Or is that not the problem?

  16. I salute the sweater and think the sleeves look just fine, but omigosh, the BABY! Soo cute! Such a little crack-up! I bet he loves hanging out with the ladies.

  17. I love this sweater, or should I say template! I really do agree with Ann and the others- it is a beginning. And a great one at that.
    Maybe we should call it MY Perfect Sweater- one knitter’s Frankenstein is another’s Prince Charming.
    Cannot wait to cast on.
    And Crockett? First- the name- true or fictional, it is a winner! He’s so beautiful and perfect and baby-ish and he’s making me ovulate. Honey- where are you… time to come home from work….

  18. Mary Neal, Kay (the Subcommittee on Short Rowing) (as long as we’re now 10,000 leagues under the sea on this subject)–I did not pick up n knit the wrapped stitch on the following row because I didn’t work a row after I did all the short rows. I just stopped knitting, then commenced to three-needle bind off. So all the wraps are just sitting there, unpicked up. For the short rows to really behave, I think that I need to work one last row during which the wraps are picked up and knitted. Only question is whether it’ll make the total length a row too long.
    I’m thinking it would be worth it. Otherwise, those wraps are just sitting there lookin’ dorky. Thawts?

  19. Okay — short rows, dolman sleeves, weird neck — whatever. It looks really nice on Mrs. Small! Really! And it’s a lovely color, especially on her.

  20. After I have done the wraps I knit one more row, knitting in the wraps as I go. Then I CAST OFF, and mattress stitch the two slopes-without-any-steps-in-them together. I like this method – it works for me…..

  21. That baby is REdiculously cute (so cute, I can’t spell) I think my ovaries just skipped a beat.
    Oh and I’m SO excited about the sweater! I think a lot of knitters DO want a plain, yet flattering sweater pattern (probably the reason the Hourglass sweater is so popular).
    Alert! Not only will I devise the crewneck version-I will also be knitting mine in the round (I am not chic enough to be a Rowanette) and oh, how I LOVE a sweater in the round!

  22. Ann, while you’re in downtown Chicago you must pay a visit to Loopy Yarns. New shop, just opened, wonderful owner, and — when I visited last month — more Lorna’s Laces than you’ve ever seen in one place in your life, I kid you not.
    There are other wonderful stores in Chicagoland (Arcadia Knitting, for one), but this one is pretty new, and worth a look.
    As is that baybee. What a smunchkin!

  23. I think the sleeves are too full at the top. I thought so based on yesterday’s picture, I definitely think so from today’s picture. I also would perhaps like them a bit fuller at the bottom. The body shape is great though. I like the waist.

  24. Crockett looks like such a happy baby in his hand knits.
    On the sleeves… Just a tad less roomy would be nice.

  25. Crockett looks like such a happy baby in his hand knits.
    On the sleeves… Just a tad less roomy would be nice.

  26. Hey – I have biceps. I worked long and hard for them. I like the roominess. I also have to be contrary. I think it’s genetic.

  27. I’ve been gone for 3 days on a business trip, and this is what I come back to? What the hell happened? WHAT THE HELL IS A DOLMAN SLEEVE?
    Why does my brain smell like burning plastic after reading this post?
    I am SO not knitting this sweater now… :)

  28. i am loving your “every person”, “everyday”
    sweater-y sweater. you must have xmas gnomes nearby, whipping it together…..do you ever sleep, my dear? you and kay are in the super mom category, what with gingerbread houses “on the side.”

  29. Libby, to understand dolman, you must think “flashdance”, ’nuff said. p.s. crockett is so cute i can no longer think about reproducing.

  30. Forget the perfect sweater–Crockett whips the sweater any ol’ day. He’s so dang cute I want to put him in my pocket and take him home!

  31. (Delurking…) My heart melts and I forget about doing knitting comments when such a handsome fella is staring at you!
    (PS – The Perfect sweater is beautiful in its simplicity!)

  32. LIBBY. Libby Libby Libby. Libbylibbylibby. Oh, LIBBY. Forget we ever mention dolmans–just pretend they’re some kind of Greek appetizer. Just focus on the sweater. You will knit this sweater. It will look like no other garment you have ever seen. You will blow your mind with your own creative genius. Just you watch.

  33. Gawsh, that’s the cutest little baby I’ve ever seen (after my own two babies, of course)…

  34. He is so cute! I just could not help clicking to tell you this. Miki